MUMBAI - Subhash Kapoor’s “Guddu Rangeela
” is one of those films that are middling, unremarkable, and trivialize a serious matter.
The story starts with Bollywood’s oldest cliche: two scruffy, kind-hearted conmen who rob people to fund their Good Samaritan schemes. But the director’s indecision about whether this should be a film about the larger social evil of honour killings, or just about these two men and their adventures shows in the half-hearted and haphazard manner in which the film comes together.
Guddu (Amit Sadh
) and Rangeela (Arshad Warsi
), who moonlight as small-time conmen and informants, need money to bribe a corrupt police inspector. When they are approached to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy man, they take up the job grudgingly, hoping to get it over soon and pocket the fee.
But the victim Baby (Aditi Rao Hydari
) isn’t as innocent as she seems, and the scheme isn’t straightforward either. At the centre of it all is Billoo, the village strongman and a proponent of the “khap”, a quasi-judicial system that settles rural disputes and metes out punishment to those who dare break the rules in what is a very conservative society in the state of Haryana.
Guddu and Rangeela are drawn deeper and deeper into the quagmire and realize they also have a personal score to settle with Billoo. The film’s plot is sketchy and misses crucial details. The dialogue – especially Hydari’s lines – is stilted, with supposedly poignant moments coming across as fake.
Kapoor borrows bits of his story from real life, including the horrific Manoj-Babli case
, where a couple was tortured to death for marrying within the same caste, considered unacceptable in the Jat community. Ronit Roy
brings the required ruthlessness to Billoo’s character, but he’s played the angry villain so many times in the past, that this role doesn’t reveal any new facets of his acting.
The rest of the cast are as unremarkable as the film, and by the time the climax of “Guddu Rangeela” rolls around, there is the nagging feeling of deja vu. And that is never a good thing. - Reuters